October 26, 2005

Completion Fetish

Last night witnessed a confluence of media consumption wherein I wrapped up a number of things I'd been trying to finish. These include:

  • Jarhead by Anthony Swofford: The previews looked pretty good for the upcoming film, but I got excited when I read the recent Harper's article about the movie/book.

    After reading the article, I realized, among other things, that the film's being directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), edited by Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now) and filmed by Roger Deakins (everything good, ever). Plus, I totally didn't realize that Swofford's book was the basis for the movie - despite, you know, being titled the same thing and having written about it 2 1/2 years ago.

    I read one review of the book that said Swofford "seemed incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence." Seems about right.

  • The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson: My local bookstore had a tag in this that read "This is the best thing ever. Don't read the back cover, just read it." So I did and it was mighty good. It's a narrative told in verse about characters from a Greek myth but set in modern times. And they're gay. One of them's also a dragon-type deal.

    Anyway, it's another in a series of books I've read recently where I have no idea what the heck is really going on but somehow it resonates (Wittgenstein's Mistress, I'm looking at you). Plus, I think I read an interview with Dose One where he said that he digs on Anne Carson's poetry. There are definite similarities.

  • The Civil War by Ken Burns: I started this approximately one year ago and just never got around to watching the fifth and final disk. Despite my love of trivia, I still feel that my factual knowledge of the Civil War is a bit hazy. It kinda all runs together after a while. Incomprehensible loss of life. Sad letters home. That same damn song played over and over again.

    I had a friend who, after having his wisdom teeth removed, dosed himself up on Percocet and watched the entire Civil War documentary in one sitting. Seems like that might be the best way to experience it.

  • Shadow of the Colossus by SCEA: The much-hyped, much-anticipated non-sequel sequel to Ico. And it truly is an amazing-looking game. A great last-generation console title for the PS2. The fact that they manage to pull off a story without telling one is certainly a remarkable achievement. And, of course, the scale of the colossi is superhot.

    Overall, though I don't think it's as strong a game as Ico. There are a number of play control issues including oft-mentioned camera problems. The last boss is amazing, but I nearly threw my controller through the screen trying to get the near-blind platforming right.

    Anyway, I hope it will serve as great inspiration for some next-gen console titles.

Four things finished in one night! Two books read on the bus ride home from work and a couple hours at home for the Civil War and Colossus.

I am now out of new media and my Netflix queue is basically empty of things I actually want to see. I mean, I was most recently watching Pennebaker's behind the scenes of the cast album for Sondheim's Company.

And now I've got "Ladies who Lunch" stuck in my head. That's no good for anyone.

October 18, 2005

These Mega Magz balls are pretty hot. And not just because of the name.

October 16, 2005


Shadow of the Colossus gets released this week for PS2. It's the sorta-not-really sequel to Ico - in my view the best game made so far. If you think that's hyperbolic, check out this review of Colossus from

In short, Shadow of the Colossus breaks storytelling barriers none of us knew existed. It's the rare game for which the often overused words "ground-breaking" were truly reserved for, and it's enough to make you regret every stupid coin you ever collected. Besides merely being one of gaming's great moments, this is the experience of the year.

October 11, 2005

Lunch with MC Hammer

For real. Life is weird.

October 06, 2005


I was at home in St. Louis last weekend to visit the family and to celebrate the nuptials of my younger cousin (not pictured, that's my brother on the right). With a detour through Chicago to visit Mary and Eugene, I had myself a regular Mid-West Adventure.

Here's something about the Mid-West I forgot: they like meat. Lots of meat.

At the rehersal dinner, we were served toasted ravioli (a St. Louis delicacy) and I asked what they were stuffed with. "Meat" was the reply. Not "Pork" or "Beef" ... just meat. Who can say where it all comes from.

The capper was the Bloody Mary I had the following morning. The waiter asked if I wanted the special and I said sure. Apparently, the special Bloody Mary in St. Louis is served with extra olives, an asparagus spear and a quarter stick of salami!

How many cocktails require processed pork to make? Is there some St. Louis variant on the manhattan that replaces the brandied cherries with pig's feet?

I made it home to the rolling tofu hills of San Francisco without trouble. But I promptly came down with a cold. I blame some stowaway pepperoni for irritating my sensitive mucus membranes.